The weather has been insane lately. One day I’m fishing in -5 and 2 days later, it’s 60 degrees and I’m fishing in a monsoon with lightning! I’ve been loving every minute of it. The ice conditions are improving every day despite the 8″ of snow followed by the inch of rain and warm temps. I measured 7″ of ice yesterday… The pike fishing has been slow to say the least but the jigging for crappie has been the best I’ve ever seen. I am consistently seeing 14″ crappie with the biggest so far being just under 16″
Yesterday was one of my more enjoyable trips in a long time. The weather was ugly with pouring rain and rumbles of thunder but the fish were fired up. Saxitalis came along with me, she wasn’t thrilled with the rain but she stuck it out. Watch the video to the end and you’ll see how much rain we got as the water ran back into the holes!
We were rewarded for our efforts with some amazing fishing. For a while, the crappie were averaging 13″ or so and I iced the largest of the year so far at almost 16″. The last few trips, the crappie definitely wanted some meat on the jigs so I had been tipping the Slick Jigs and Flyers with shiners. The big one I got showed up on the Humminbird flasher but wouldn’t eat. I teased her for a few minutes and she would follow every move the jig made but wouldn’t commit. I finally grabbed another rod that had a much smaller Frostee on it and dropped it down. She inhaled that one instantly… It pays to be flexible, you just never know what they want!
8 hours after it was pouring and 60, the bottom had dropped out and the temps were back below freezing again. By 6 am this morning, we were back down to 5 degrees. The CT River is just about completely jammed up with ice again. I took these pics this morning from the Docks in Old Lyme. The ice sounded pretty cool as it ground along the bridge abutments as it flowed out to the salt!
I’ve been fortunate to get out nearly every day since the season started for us. I’ve done nothing but jig for panfish and that has been outstanding. I’ve been doing well with Lindy Darters, Slick Jigs and Rattl’n Flyers. Most days, the fish have been fairly agressive, but occasionally, they require a bit of finesse to get them to eat the jig. This is where the Humminbird flasher saves the day. They say, a picture is worth a 1000 words, well… Here’s a video that will sum things up nicely:
It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted about any fishing related activity, so I figured I’d better get back in the habit. We are officially back on the ice here in CT! As time has allowed, I have been getting out for a few hours here and there and have been having a blast with the jigging rods over the last week and a half.
I kicked the season off with a little trail maintenance. I got tired of dragging a fully loaded sled through the woods and over all the logs along the way so I brought my saw along. Yeah yeah, I know I have to tighten the chain…
I have been spending all of my time on a couple of coves of the CT river. The jigging has been red hot with loads of perch, crappie, bluegill and even a surprice bass and pike on the light gear. I’ve been using a lot of Rattl’n Flyers, Slick Jigs and darters Most of the better fish came on a slick jig tipped with mummies.
The Darters have also scored well, here is a quick clip of the Darter in action:
I’m also seeing a lot more bass on the small jigs than in years past. This one was a blast on 4 pound line:
Also had a surprise pike a few days ago. Crappy cell phone video but still kinda cool. Again, on 4 pound test, she measured 32″…
For so early in the season, I’m seeing some decent perch already. Normally the big ones don’t show till February. Here is one of the better perch of the season so far. Many times, they would show on the flasher right on the bottom but wouldn’t eat the jig. I found that to get them to eat, i only had to start raising the jig up off the bottom. As they followed it, I would keep it just far enough away that they couldn’t catch up to it. After raising it up 4 feet or so, I would pause the jig and they woulod smash it every time.
So today was day 2 with David and son Kyle. They had a ball yesterday but today wanted to see some bigger bass. The bunker are pretty much gone now as are the porgy so I came armed with eels. Usually this time of year, the eel bite diring the day picks up considerably. Again, we only had 4 hours and we had a slack tide to start our search. The first spot was barren. We had a nonexistent drift and didn’t mark a single fish so after a few drifts, we moved on to another reef 4 miles away.
Things were much different there… We had a decent drift and could see fish on the Humminbird as soon as we pulled up. The very fist drift produced a double of nice bass. David had a heck of a fish that measured 42″. Both were ecstatic and couldn’t wait for the next drift. We had either hits or hook ups on just about every drift for the duration of the trip. David and Kyle had been staying at the Griswold Inn in Essex during their trip and were looking forward to having striper for dinner. We kept one for the table and I filleted it for them to take back to the kitchen at the Inn. David sent me a cell phone picture of their dish and said that it was easily the best fish they had ever eaten. It sure looked to me!
Today I had the father and son team of David and Kyle. They were here from Missouri to look at area schools. Kyle is a fishing nut so they looked me up in hopes of catching their first stripers and blues ever. We got lucky with the weather, it had been blowing hard for well over a week. I wasn’t sure what to expect for action as it had just been too rough to fish much prior to our outing. We had 4 hours to find them some fish. They were hoping for some top water action so we hit a few inshore rock piles and managed a few hits but no hookups. I decided to head out a bit deeper and look for birds out over some local reefs. That did the trick… There were birds everywhere a couple miles out. We threw Badonk-A-Donks and Chuggin’ Spooks and had a field day with small bass and blues. The guys were constantly hooked up and we spent the entire afternoon there. Their arms eventually begged for mercy and we headed in. Along the way, we were treated to a fantastic sunset and a hell of a striper and hickory shad blitz in the mouth of the river. The guys had a blast but have decided that tomorrow they’d like to step it up and try their hand at BIG fish on live bait. Hopefully the fish are still deep… We’ll see!
I was scheduled to have a charter today but with the high winds forecast, I cancelled. It was goiung to be way too rough on the reefs. I decided to head down with Alan just to look around and try some different areas. We launched at 7 in a thick fog. It was 29 degrees and there was ice on the deck of the boat. The cold made throwing a cast net miserable, but we found the bunker quickly and in just a couple of tosses, we had enough bunker for the morning. We stayed right in the river and fished tight to shore to stay out of the worst of the wind. That proved to be the right choice because when the wind picked up, it really began to blow. We were into fish all morning and had some fantastic fish for this late in the season. Our biggest of the day was just under 40 pounds… Hopefully, the bunker stays a bit longer because this was way too much fun!
I had an invite to fish with Pat and Frank for some tog today. It has been way too long since I fished for them so I jumped at the chance. The fish were shallow and instead of using 3 way rigs, we cast crabs on jigs into the rocks and worked them back to the boat. We had lots of hits but it was a challenge to hook them. Things were decent early but slowed halfway through the tide. We ended up a little shy of our limit but what we lacked in quantity, we made up for in quality. What a blast, I can’t wait to do it again…
For the last few days, I’ve been on the water as part of a 7 man team doing a photo shoot for the 2014 Cabela’s Salt Water Catalog. Cabelas flew in a professional model, a photographer and assistant. We also had a few employees along for the shoot. The focus was mainly on the new clothing but we did some running shots of the boats, cast netting bait, casting plugs, etc… Literally thousands of photos were taken. It was a ton of work but we had a blast. The wind was cranking hard every day which severely limited where we could fish but I had done some scouting in preparation and it paid off… In spades! We launched out of the CT River each day and loaded up on bunker before heading out to some of the inshore rock piles. The bunker produced plenty of fish but we also scored well on big Creek Chub Pin Poppers. The photographer worked his ass off, getting in the water with the fish to get some unique shots.. I hope to have some to share here soon. In the meantime, here are a couple I took
Andrew and I headed out this morning to try something different. We fished nothing but top water all day, starting in the dark and finishing after 1 PM. While the bite was best in the first hour after sunrise, we caught stripers all day long. Most of our hits came within a few yards of the rocky shoreline. We caught on the Bomber Badonk-A-Donk as well as Super Spooks. We fished from Waterford, all along the south side of Fishers Island and back again and ended up with over 2 dozen bass in the boat. It was a nice change of pace. Here are a few pictures from the trip:
I kept a low profile today by fishing in Alan’s boat. Leaving from New London, we fished the usual haunts. Surprisingly, the boat traffic wasn’t too bad. We struggled at first to find bait but eventually scraped enough together to get started. The tides were still cranking from the full moon a few days earlier but we knew if we stuck it out long enough, the bass would turn on as the tide slowed a bit. Sure enough, as our drifts got under 2 MPH, we started getting hits. It was a short window and we made the most of it by putting a half dozen quality bass in the boat.